The controversial Channel 4 programme ‘UKIP: The First 100 Days’ appears to have spectacularly backfired on the broadcaster as regulator Ofcom reveals it has had over two thousand complaints since the programme was aired on Monday evening.
The “mockumentary”, screened while the election campaign is being fought but outside of the technical time period when impartiality on the part of certain broadcasters must be shown, tried to imply that a UKIP government would see race riots on the streets, a collapse in the FTSE and a rush on money leaving the country as the government forcibly raided properties without warrants.
On Monday, Breitbart London exclusively revealed that the director and writer, Chris Atkins, is appearing at Southwark Crown Court this Friday for a pre-trial hearing after he and 12 others were accused of Cheating the Public Revenue over a tax evasion scheme estimated at £2.5 million.
And now communications regulator Ofcom has divulged that 2,442 people have contacted them to complain about the programme, with another 250 at least complaining directly to Channel 4. The broadcaster did not specify the nature of the comments but it is likely that the majority were critical.
A spokesman said: “Ofcom has received 2,442 complaints about UKIP: the First 100 Days on Channel 4. We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not.”
This number is only slightly behind the highest complained about programme of 2015 so far, which is Celebrity Big Brother which received 2,728 although the latter was watched by an average of 3.27 million viewers while Channel 4 only managed 916,000 at the 2100hrs viewing, reaching a peak of 1.33 million after Broadchurch had finished.
It was beaten by ‘Benefits Britain: Life on the Dole’ on Channel 5, ‘A Cook Abroad’ on BBC Two, an FA Cup match on BBC One and ‘Broadchurch’ on ITV.
Ofcom licences all UK commercial television and radio services in the UK and broadcasters must comply by the terms of their licence, or risk having it revoked. Ofcom also publishes the Broadcasting Code, an extensive series of rules which all broadcast content on television and radio must follow.
As the regulating body for media broadcasts, it is the responsibility of Ofcom to examine specific complaints by viewers or listeners about programmes broadcast on channels it has licensed.
According to guidelines, when Ofcom receives a complaint, it asks the broadcaster for a copy of the programme, it then examines the programme content to see if it is in breach of the broadcasting code. Ofcom requests response from the broadcaster to the complaint. On the basis of this response, Ofcom will mark the complaint as either “upheld” or “not upheld”, or alternatively simply “resolved”
A UKIP spokesperson said, “It’s reassuring that so many of the general public saw this awful programme for exactly what it was: a distorted and vile attack on UKIP which bore no resemblance to the truth. Channel 4 should be ashamed.
“To hinge the entire narrative on the deportation of illegal immigrants just goes to show why this was a deliberate smear as that policy is held by all political parties and is enshrined by law. To suggest that UKIP would oversee UK border forces using aggressive force is unfounded and highly incendiary. The programme featured a fictional UKIP poster which threatened illegal immigrants with deportation, but it was the Conservatives back in 2013 who used a tasteless ad van to do this and UKIP who publicly criticised them for it. UKIP is the only party with a real and positive message for social cohesion, integration and ethical immigration.
“I sincerely hope that this abhorrent programme does not result in good and hard-working people of UKIP canvassing during the campaign to suffer abuse from the general public. This may have entertained the faceless people behind the making of this programme, but for the men and women who believe and openly support UKIP this was deeply offensive and hurtful. Those people deserve an apology for being insulted and discriminated against.”